When it comes to pies, I think crust makes all the difference. Nothing comes close to that flakey, buttery flavor that comes from homemade crust. Again, this is one of those key basic items that sounds intimidating, but it is shockingly easy to make.  I  heavily  rely on my food processor to make pie crusts and that is what takes all the difficulty out of it. Of course, this is doable without it, but it is hard to beat the ease of pressing  the “pulse” button around 10 times.  Once all the ingredients are measured, it is really a 20 minute hands on affair.  Really!

The key to successful pie crusts is to have very very cold ingredients. This means ice cold water, ice cold butter and it helps if you measure you flour and put it in the fridge while you are assembling other ingredients.

Over the years I have gone through various recipes of pie crust, some that are all butter, some are mix of butter and shortening but this one in particular has proven to be a winner in my household.

The prep looks something like this:

pie crust step one

Step one in preparing basic pie crust

Once the dough is pulsed, then it looks like course cornmeal.

pie crust step two

And finally, once water has been added and pulsed in, the dough starts to come together and it looks something like this:

pie crust step three

Third step of pie crust, once the dough starts to come together.


And finally, we shape the crumbly dough into a disk.

pie crust

Pie crust shaped into a disk

I originally found this pie crust in an issue of Real Simple from 2009 and adapted it from there. The original recipe can be found here.

Basic Pie Crust
  • 1¼ cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 stick very cold unsalted butter
  • 1 T sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 T ice cold water
  1. In a bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Pulse the mixture until it looks like coarsely ground cornmeal with a few larger chunks of butter still visible. It is very important to see chunks of butter.
  3. Add 3 Tbsps of water and pulse 5 or 6 times. If needed the 4th tablespoon. Keep pulsing the dough until it starts to pull away from the bowl. It will be crumbly, but it should not be dry.
  4. Place this crumbly mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape it into a disk, around 1 inch thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour or freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the disk of dough on a floured board. Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough into an 11 to 12 inch circle (roll from the center). Keep flouring your board and the rolling pin as necessary to prevent sticking.